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New minister Koizumi vows to tackle tainted soil in Fukushima

  • September 12, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 09:10 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Sept. 12 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s new Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, meeting with Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori on Thursday, vowed to keep the central government’s pledge about the disposal of soil tainted with radioactive substances from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
   

“I’ll make utmost efforts to keep the promise” that the final disposal of the contaminated soil will be carried out outside of Fukushima Prefecture, home to the plant, within 30 years, Koizumi said at the meeting, held in the city of Fukushima, the capital of the northeastern Japan prefecture.
   

Koizumi visited Fukushima after he took up the ministerial post on Wednesday in a cabinet reshuffle conducted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
  

 A triple meltdown occurred at the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. <9501> plant soon after it was hit by the March 2011 powerful earthquake and tsunami.
   

“Genuine trust will be created after a promise is fulfilled,” Uchibori told Koizumi.
   

Speaking to reporters, Koizumi apologized for recent remarks by his predecessor, Yoshiaki Harada, that the only way available to dispose of treated radioactive water at the nuclear plant is to release it into the ocean. “I would like to offer an apology to local residents offended by the remarks,” the new minister said.
   

Postdisaster reconstruction minister Kazunori Tanaka visited Fukushima and neighboring Miyagi Prefecture, which was also damaged by the quake and tsunami.
   

At his meeting with Uchibori, Tanaka stressed the government’s resolve to complete the reconstruction of disaster-hit areas.
   

He later held talks with Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai.
   

Murai showed his hope that the central government will continue providing personnel support even after the end of the intensive reconstruction period.

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